Figuring it Out

Photo courtesy of Tigger Photography


I want to start this article off with a simple question. In order for this short reading session to promote some introspection and discussion I would like you to take time now and think about the question I am about to ask you. Then I would like to help you form your answer with the example the rationalisation and process I went through in my own answer. I offer my own example not as a benchmark for you to compare because I believe it to be the penultimate way and form, far from it. If you have read any of my previous articles you may have noticed that I tend to focus a lot on rationalisation and inner thought relating to performance specifically for Jiu Jitsu. These ramblings are merely my opinions. I have no formal training in psychology or spirituality. I don’t profess to know more than anyone else in these fields or offer the be all to end all solution. I am a 32 year old man who thinks way too much and sends these thoughts into the ether of the internet with the hope of finding like minded or opposing opinions to entice objective discussion in order to further the thought rationalisations I am preoccupied by. I don’t claim to be the best Jiu Jitsu fighter either. I am competent but far from extraordinary in the sport. I have competed a number of times and lost just as much as I have won. My medal collection has a lot more silver than any other colour (much like my hair these days) so if you are looking for ideas and tips to take you to world championship winning levels please don’t look at me for that boost. Rather I offer ideas and questions that you yourself may agree with or disagree with to help find your own path and your own journey towards your goals. I want to be totally transparent with you, the reader, so that we may have a better relationship for discussion.

Now back to the question. When I say take some time to think about the question and your answer I mean I want you to actually step away from the computer or put down your iPad or phone or whatever medium you are currently using. Ask yourself the question and dismiss the first answer that comes into your mind. I feel that if you answer too fast you may be answering with a regurgitation of someone else’s reasoning, whcih you may have heard in the past. Be honest. If your first answer is what you truly believe for yourself than good for you, I am happy you are so in touch with your true self and at this stage in life. But if not please take the time to question your first response and question yourself “Is this answer my honest answer? Am I truly aware of my honest answer and what is true for me?” Do this now, make the effort and be honest. I assure you that if you do this next period of time will be beneficial to you and your growth in Jiu Jitsu and in your day-to-day life. Ok, let’s get started. I am going to ask the question now and it’s merely a simple question, but it may not have a simple answer. It’s not asking about the meaning of life or anything too deep. It contains a just few simple words… “Why do you (or don’t you) compete?” Not too difficult, right? Ok take the time to ponder and we will reconvene here in the following paragraph.

Did you find your answer? Was it easy or difficult? Did you ask yourself if you were being totally honest? The reason I ask this question and the following ‘are you being honest?’ is because I recently took the time to do this little exercise myself. Actually, I have asked myself this many times in the past and have had many different answers arise. But I have never taken the time to really delve in and be honest. My answers were usually very brief and I used words that weren’t always my own. When I say I didn’t use my own words I mean that I would sometimes hear others peoples answers and think yeah that sounds right, I must think that too! I would come up with statements like “I compete because it’s a true test of skill.” “Because I can test myself against others.” “Because I want to show people what I can do.” “Because everyone else in the gym is competing and I don’t want to look like a pussy.” And of course “Because I want to be a WARRIOR!!!!!” Yes, a little douchey I know but I was a young man once and that kind of comes with the territory. To be honest I do feel that these reasons do play a part in why I compete in Jiu Jitsu tournaments, but they are not the sole statement that should encompass my reasoning. They don’t carry the weight or longevity in reasoning for me, as I wouldn’t feel as strong about each of these
statements week to week, month to month.

Upon deep thought I found that, in all honestly, competition scares me. It scares me in all facets of life. I don’t mean that I am scared of being hurt, scared of the aggression or anything like that. I am truly scared of losing. I know a lot of people feel this too. Jiu Jitsu is that crazy sport that you could do absolutely above and beyond what you expect of yourself in preparation in regards to training and diet, though you could still lose and lose badly. I truly hate to lose and this brings on a stress to my life that I’d rather deal without. But at the same time I hate to
live with fear. This is what I am finding to be my reason for competing and putting my reputation, my ego and my physical body on the line. When it comes down to it I hate losing, but I hate living with fear the most. Let me explain my thoughts on this. I see losing as a form of pain, not a physical pain but a mental one. The obvious option to avoid experiencing this pain would be to avoid competition. But fear to me is the roadblock to living life. If I avoid competition to avoid the pain of losing I am succumbing to fear and if I succumb to fear I feel that I live with fear sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear and steering my actions in life. Am I in control? No. Is a life that is lived by handing the wheel over to fear, becoming a passenger in the car that is your own life, any kind of life to be lived? No. If I succumb to fear I may as well die. When I feel fear it’s another form of pain. It’s a feeling I feel in my chest and in my stomach. I feel it beginning to make me weaker in my limbs. I don’t want to feel that feeling. I don’t want to have it in my life. When I feel that fear I know that I have to kill it. When I think about competing I don’t think about the win, the loss or anything else but the fear. I feel it in my chest, in my stomach and in my limbs. In competition I feel the fear and I want to avoid the pain of fear so much more than I want to avoid the fear of losing. This comes back to bite me a lot. Every body I train with can attest to the fact that I am always injured. It would seem that I have the immune system and bone density of newborn baby at times judging on the frequency of my injuries. But it’s because of the pain I have associated with fear that I chose to train on with thess injuries all the time. When I have pulled out of competitions due to injury I feel that I gave into fear somehow. I know it’s stupid to think that way as it really is just self-preservation. But then you see videos of Jacare having his arm broken by Roger Gracie in the world championships and still fighting on.

I look at that and think that me and my wussy torn ligaments are just riding shotgun next to fear again changing the radio station rather than steering the direction of my life. Whether that thought is rational or not is up to me to decide on another day. Today I was successful in finding the reason I compete in Jiu Jitsu and now I believe that with this knowledge I can progress in any direction I chose as long as I maintain focus.

So what is it for you? Will you go back to that question again after reading my personal process and thoughts with a new map or approach? What ever you do, what ever you find be sure it is honest and true for you. Don’t allow pride of the status quo dictate your examination on the motivations in your life.

I would love to hear what your answers are and how you came to those answers and what you went through to get there. If you like you can add your comments below this article or send us a message on Facebook. I’d love to read them as your answers may open up other paths of thought.

Photo courtesy of Tigger Photography

Article by: Cristiano Del Giacco

About The Author

Cristiano Del Giacco
Co-Founder & Lead Editor

Co-Founder of BJJ enthusiast based on the Gold Coast and collector of Kimonos, travelling the world training with some of the worlds best.

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